Lava Kaliko Personal DAB Radio Review

Summary:
Very affordable, but there are better pocket DAB radios out there.

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The Kaliko is a compact pocket radio that picks ups FM, DAB and DAB+ stations. It’s made by British audio-visual brand Lava and is a relatively new product, having only been released in February 2018. The Kaliko is very attractively priced, but how does it perform? Find out in this review…

Features

  • FM/DAB/DAB+ radio
  • Built-in battery (charges via USB)
  • Earphones included
  • Saves 20 preset stations

Dimensions: 9.3 cm high x 5.7 cm wide x 1.5 cm deep
Weight: 150 g

Performance and use

Setting up the Kaliko is straightforward and simple. You just have to connect the earphones, turn it on and it will scan and save all the DAB stations it finds. The earphones work as an aerial, so you will need to have them plugged in for it to find DAB stations.

Reception can vary a lot depending on where you use it. If you find it doesn’t pick up many stations to begin with, try moving to a different part of the room and retuning it.

The sound quality depends a lot on the earphones/headphones you use, so you might want to use a pair of high-quality earphones or headphone rather than the cheap earphones included. While the Kaliko is designed to be used with earphones you can connect an aux cable to the headphone jack and listen through speakers or your car stereo if you want.

The manufacturer states that the Kaliko’s internal battery should last for about 10 hours on DAB radio. In practice, this is likely to be a bit less, and will gradually deteriorate over time. Nevertheless, 8-10 hours is about standard for a new pocket DAB radio, so the battery life isn’t really something to complain about.

DAB radios use more power than AM/FM radios, so if you’re switching from a pocket AM/FM radio you might be disappointed by how frequently you have to charge the Kaliko up. The Kaliko is charged using a micro USB cable, which is included.

The Kaliko is quite simple and lacks some of the features you’ll find in other pocket radios. There’s no alarm function or sleep timer. Also, it doesn’t have a keylock function which would be useful to prevent you from accidentally pressing a button while moving around. It would also be nice if the radio had a pocket clip.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • No alarm function
  • No pocket clip
  • No keylock function

Verdict

The Kaliko’s main selling point is its low price. It’s not the highest quality or most feature-packet pocket DAB radio, but it is one of the cheapest. If you don’t mind missing out on some useful features such as a keylock function, it’s a good choice. However, there are better pocket radios out there if you’re willing to spend a little more.

Similar radios

One of the most popular alternatives to the Kaliko is the Majority Petersfield-Go. Like the Kaliko, the Petersfield-Go is very affordable, but it has a few extra features such as a keylock function and a pocket clasp. There isn’t much difference in price at the time of writing, so the Petersfield-Go might be a better choice if those features are important to you.

If you’d like something from a more established brand you might want to consider the Roberts Sports DAB5. One unusual thing about this radio (compared to other pocket DAB radios) is that it uses AA batteries rather than a built-in rechargeable battery. This could be a good or a bad thing depending on which you prefer.

For some more options, see our roundup of the best pocket DAB radios.

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